Six Months with Charlotte

It may not come as a surprise that even opening up the Google Doc to write this post has me tearing up. Typing the words “six months” into the title box forces a lump in my throat as I try to muster up an introduction worthy of what this time has meant to us.

Everyone said it: The time flies. Enjoy every moment. You’ll blink, and she’ll be in middle school. Hold her tight.

I’d nod and smile, but of course I never really understood it. Then one day I laid my sleepy, squishy newborn down for her nap and came back to a bubbly, bright-eyed baby looking up and me.

Charlotte has changed me. Since the moment I held her in my arms for the first time, she has humbled me and stretched me and given me a truly unbearable capacity for love.

I dropped the ball on getting one of these out each month. I’m sure I’m missing some details, but this is the gist of it.

Personality

Charlotte is SUCH a good girl. She is cuddly and smiley and *usually* so content. She obviously has her moments (she has a nightly tantrum the exact second we take her out of the bath before bed), but for the most part she is a sweetie.

She is also, at times, very serious. We call her a “very busy worker” because she gets enthralled with her toys. She loves ceiling fans and has since she was really tiny. She loves bathtime, listening to Tyler sing to her, dancing with me in the kitchen when she’s tired or cranky, and pretending to eat my face.

One of my favorite parts of the day is in the morning when she wakes up. Tyler grabs her from her crib, changes her diaper, and then brings her to me in bed (along with a cup of coffee) so I can nurse her. After she’s done feeding, we play in bed. It’s the cutest thing. She’s so playful and laser-focused on her toys–right now her favorite “morning toys” are her blankie with little ribbon tags on it from Tyler’s mom, her “Jackson” giraffe from her aunt and uncle, and of course the package of wipes because what could make a more amazing crunchy sound than that?

She is a crackup with Tyler. She’s obsessed with him and laughs at everything he does. Those two have such an incredible bond that I will forever be thankful for.

She is teething a little, is SO close to crawling, and can sit on her own with light supervision, lol.

Weight Issues/Breastfeeding

I wanted to share about her issues with gaining weight and how we got through them both for documentation sake as well as with the hope that this might help someone who may be experiencing the same issues with their little one!

One month

The first month after she was born was hard, but Tyler and I were both running on adrenaline, so things never seemed totally out of control. She ate every three hours around the clock, but we figured she would start sleeping longer stretches at night. We followed Babywise pretty much to a T the first few weeks.

After a month or so, we noticed that she wasn’t stretching her eating windows at night, but we decided to wait it out. Then we noticed that it was getting harder and harder to get her to go down for her naps during the day. She was fussy and started showing some symptoms of reflux. Her naps were really short, and she always seemed just a little uncomfortable and unsettled.

Two months

At her two month appointment, our doctor told us that she was behind in weight. She had gone from the 90th percentile at birth to the 40th. We all figured it was because of her reflux, so we put her on some medication and started seeing a baby chiropractor to help get her aligned.

We went back in for weight checks every couple of weeks, and she was still not gaining weight as quickly as she should have and her percentile measurement continued to drop.

Her reflux symptoms began to subside, but we couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t gaining weight.

We thought that it was maybe just an issue with my milk supply. I slowed down on working out per my doctor’s suggestion, starting pumping after every single nursing session, began taking a fenugreek supplement, and was eating everything in sight like a horse. But even after all of that, nothing seemed to help.

I really, really wanted to keep breastfeeding exclusively. I LOVE nursing her, and I didn’t want to supplement with formula unless absolutely necessary. I know everyone has different preferences and opinions about it, but that’s just what I felt was right for us.

Three months

Finally, when Charlotte turned three months old, a friend of mine took a look at her mouth and thought she might have a lip tie.

We went to a see a pediatric dentist who specializes in lip/tongue ties and they told us that Charlotte had both a lip AND a tongue tie.

And suddenly everything made sense. She wasn’t gaining weight because she wasn’t able to nurse properly and get enough milk. My heart broke.

Looking back, I felt like I had an oversupply the first few weeks, so I think that made up for her trouble eating. We hadn’t noticed an issue with her weight at her first few appointments.

I am, however, surprised that they didn’t check for this right at the hospital. While I had overall a really great experience with the hospital I delivered at, the lactation consultants did seem a bit rushed and didn’t pay very close attention to her latch. For my next baby(ies), I will definitely plan on making sure they check for ties right away.

Anyway, the dentist corrected her ties with a simple procedure that same day. For the four weeks following the procedure, we had to stretch/massage the areas every four hours around the clock–even at night. She absolutely hated it and got so worked up everytime.

This was a bummer because she had just started to sleep through the night. The dentist wanted us to be super diligent about doing the stretches even throughout the night to make sure that the areas healed correctly and didn’t form the ties again.

We saw a lactation consultant who specialized in ties, and she helped me teach Charlotte how to nurse with her new and improved mouth. It took several weeks of frustration for both of us, but she finally got the hang of it and was able to nurse without the help of a nipple shield.

Since then, she’s been doing SO much better. She’s happier, gaining weight (slowly but surely), and is sleeping all the way through the night!

Sleep Training

Four months

We decided to sleep train right at four months, just as she was graduating from around the clock stretches. This was definitely one of the best decisions we made. We went from rocking her FOREVER for every nap to setting her down and letting her learn how to put herself to sleep.

Again, everyone’s opinions vary here, but doing “cry it out” worked REALLY well for her, especially for night time sleep. A lot of people I know do programs that sort of ease into sleep training from day one. But because of her issues I never felt comfortable with it until we were done with the stretches and knew she was gaining weight.

Five months

I loosely followed The Peaceful Sleeper program by Christine Lawler. I highly recommend her book. We ended up doing sort of a blend of her program and some advice given to us by my sister and a good friend.

She still fusses going down from time to time–especially if we put her down too late–but she has been such a trooper and a lot of times will just kind of talk/hum herself to sleep. It’s so cute, and Tyler and I are always glued to the monitor with heart eyes until she goes down.

She sleeps pretty much from 7pm-7am. I know, so amazing. She is a notoriously short, napper, though, so we are working on that right now. But I wouldn’t trade my full night’s rest and sanity for anything, haha!

Six months

Overall, we are really, really blessed. I can’t believe she’s ours. I am so excited to watch her grow into what God made her to be, but if time could just slow down for one minute that would be great.

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